• Published 8th Sep 2012
  • 3,976 Views, 412 Comments

One Mare's Worth - Equestria Buck Yeah



When Rainbow Dash's speed during a new trick turns out to be too much for her own good, she comes to realize how important she really is when she finds herself in a war-torn version of her old home.

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Chapter 25

Commander Derpy shot out of bed at the sound of the alarm going off. After a second's pause, she leapt to the safe embedded in the wall and spun the combination wheel around appropriately, unlocking it and pulling out the only thing it was storing: The Sonic Screwdriver. She had to get it to Rainbow Dash. If something happened to her, General Shining Armor would take over command, but she was the only one who knew the code to get into the safe, plus she wasn't sure if his or Twilight's magic would be strong enough to rip it open.

Derpy raced out of her room and to the rehabilitation room where Rainbow had taken up residence alongside Twilight. She found them already awake with anxious looks on their faces. A moment later, Cadance and Shining Armor arrived. Twilight had just come out of a coma not long ago. They were prepared to do whatever it takes to see that she wasn't taken away again if they could help it. Unfortunately, nopony knew how many enemies just invaded their sanctum, or if there were more waiting outside.

"Rainbow, here, take this," Derpy said, giving her the Screwdriver. "If something happens to me but we get through this, you're still going to need it. Remember what The Doctor wanted you to do, and remember that this thing can neutralize weapons. If some friends show up, you should be able to at least disarm them."

"Got it, boss."

"Cadance, I want you to go keep the young ones safe. If anypony shows up and look like they're going to hurt them, use your magic on them. Wouldn't surprise me if they do. They are Celestia's troops, after all. Go!"

With a nod, the pink alicorn sped away.

"General Armor, stay here and protect them. Have your shield spell ready for anypony, even friendlies. Don't want to risk losing any of you on accident."

"Yes, Commander."

"I'm going to grab you guys a couple weapons, just in case. I'll be back as quick as I can," Derpy said as she dashed off.

-----

The unicorn squad at the front of General Tiara's ground units raised their multicolored magical barriers, courtesy of Celestia's teachings, lifted their weapons from their saddlebags and jumped around the corner. The ponies under Derpy's command stood ready with their hoofguns drawn. The moment they saw the enemy in front of them, they opened fire. Unfortunately, nothing was able to penetrate the defenses.

Several of Diamond Tiara's earth ponies quickly moved into position alongside the unicorns. Her front line pushed the barrels of their guns past the barriers and laid into Derpy's forces with everything they had. It didn't take long for all but a few ponies in the control room to fall. The survivors ducked down and dove into one of the hallways just out of line of sight. They continued to fight back, leaning out from their hiding spots to fire what they could. Flurries of pebbles and dust flew off of the walls in rapid succession as bullet after bullet dug into the earth.

Tiara's forces pushed ahead and spread into the main lobby, destroying the equipment around them. Several fighters broke off from the main group and headed down the hall to the right, in the direction of the prison cells and security room. A large chunk of the battalion went straight ahead into the heart of the facility, and several went to the left toward the war room to look for any enemy troops.

-----

As Celestia's army began their assault, Derpy had arrived at the weapons depot, grabbed a few small machine guns, and returned to Rainbow, Twilight and Shining Armor. She left the firearms for the party and immediately headed back out toward the gunfight.

On the way through the hall, she happened upon Lieutenant Spoon with what appeared to be most of the base following a step or two behind her. At the front of the group was her husband Pip and the Party Crashers. Behind them, the troops were organized in a fashion similar to Diamond Tiara's army; the unicorns were up front and the pegasi and earth ponies fell in behind them.

"Commander, the kids are secure and everypony's ready to go."

"Good, now let's– "

"Commander! There's a group of pegasi moving in from the fans! I repeat, there's a group o– " the speakers throughout the base cried out before being cut off abruptly. General Tiara was irritated that the warning was able to get out.

"Dammit! Where's Sergeant Applejack?" Derpy shouted.

The orange mare made her way to the front of the pack. She was as determined and ready to fight as she ever was, despite not seeing any action for several years.

"Take your workers and get over there! Slow them down, kill them, do what you have to. Go!" Derpy ordered. In a flash, Applejack and the rest of the ponies who generally worked alongside her ran off to the garden, armed to the teeth. "Lockdown, pick half a dozen ponies and wait outside the barracks where the kids are. Make sure they don't get past you. The rest of you, watch yourselves. Take out their unicorns first at all costs. Once they're down, we can take down the rest quickly enough. Let's go!"

Derpy took the lead and charged ahead to the control room while Lockdown retreated with his hoofpicked soldiers to watch over the young ones. She had easy double the number of soldiers though she wasn't aware. But if what the speakers said a moment ago were true, they were fighting on both sides, plus Celestia's army had the first strike on their side. In such tight quarters, getting the first shots off helped immensely. She almost hoped the white alicorn herself was present so she could take a shot or two at her.

They turned a corner. Ahead of them was the primary hallway that led to the rest of the compound, both the control room, the engineering area, and the garden primarily. As soon as they approached the corridor, Derpy stopped short as a body fell in front of them and some shots blew some of the gravel off the wall in front of them. She lifted her gun and readied herself, as the rest of the corps did, and slammed her back against the wall. Distracting machine gun fire echoed through the base.

"Stay back, Commander," Silver Spoon insisted. "Don't get yourself killed. We'll still need you if we get through this." She turned to the ponies beside her. "Unicorns, up front, now!"

The stallions and mares raised their own kaleidoscopic shields and jumped into the line of fire. Sparks flew off the barriers as Tiara's forces tried to get through. Several earth ponies jumped behind their unicorn brethren and returned fire, neither side giving an inch.

Lieutenant Spoon looked beyond their pair of magical barriers and formed a quick idea. "Belle, how fast can you blink around?"

The ivory unicorn was one of their first lines of defense at the moment, but she took a moment to respond. "Pretty quickly, why?"

"Jump in there and back out as fast as you can. We need to disrupt them a bit."

"Roger!"

Belle lowered her shield, and it was quickly replaced by fellow unicorn beside her. With a faint blue glow around her horn, she disappeared and reappeared in the heart of the enemy army. She flashed them a sly grin and blinked away just as she saw several of them take aim at her. Their itchy triggerhooves fired, taking out a few of their comrades as she vanished.

"Be careful, you idiots! Don't let that amateur move fool you! Dammit!" General Tiara screamed angrily.

-----

Applejack and her forces arrived at the garden just after the first return shots were fired by her friends. She and Caramel ran up the set of stairs beside the fans and peeked out through the large spinning blades. It was too dark for her to see anything, but if the speakers were accurate, they were being invaded. The enemy pegasi could be standing right outside the doors that led into the tunnels, which were typically used for routine maintenance, at that very minute for all she knew.

She silently pointed for Caramel to check the lower level fan opposite them. It was too dark for him as well. The country mare looked below where two earth ponies stood in front of a control panel that operated the fans.

"Reverse the flow of these things and turn it way up! How long ya think that'll take?" she asked.

"It could easily take a few minutes for the fans to come to a complete stop before reversing, Sergeant," Black Cherry answered.

"Consarnit. We ain't got that kinda time!" Applejack glanced away in thought and came up with a stalling technique. "Caramel! Follow mah lead!"

The beige earth pony watched as she swung open the door next to her and stuck her machine gun out, hiding behind the corner of the doorway in relative safety. She wildly and aimlessly fired into the air. Whether or not she actually hit anything wasn't important. Caramel got the idea and attacked the shadows similarly.

Black Cherry pulled the two-pronged directional lever down on the panel. The rotary knob beside it that controlled the speed of the fan he left alone. He had to wait until the fan started spinning the other way before he could increase the power. The rest of the relatively few number of ponies waited patiently with their weapons drawn, ready to take down any threat that got past their initial defenses.

-----

General Tiara's troops were slowly pushing Commander Derpy's back. For every step Tiara's squad took, Derpy's took two in retreat. So far, the only ponies that fell on Derpy's side were those stationed in the control room and the security station. The only casualties Tiara had to account for were the morons who shot at each other thanks to Belle's stunt.

"Oh, this is ridiculous!" Tiara exclaimed in frustration. She reached into the saddlebag of one of the earth ponies firing behind their shields and pulled out a few grenades. "Forget it! I've changed my mind! So what if this place comes crashing down on our heads as long as it kills them too?!"

She pulled the pins and threw them near the feet of the enemy unicorns. Their eyes shrank and Lieutenant Spoon called out as quick as she could to her soldiers to brace themselves just as the bombs went off. The blast shattered the shields of the weaker unicorns, but fortunately no deaths. The walls beside them took most of the damage. A few stray shots managed to get through and killed several earth ponies and a few unicorns, effectively cutting their first line of defense in half. If only their magic was as powerful as Twilight's or Shining Armor's.

Lieutenant Spoon looked past her barricades, searching for a weak point somewhere in their lines. Pinkie offered to use her PC 9000, but Silver Spoon decided against it. The shockwave and impact of the blast could do more harm than good in such tight quarters and Spoon didn't want to risk it. Then, Silver Spoon noticed that the unicorn's shields didn't extend all the way to the ceiling. An idea hit her.

"Over their heads! Shoot at the ceiling! Pour it on, now!" she shouted over the gunfire.

Her troops did as she instructed, bringing dust, gravel and dirt onto the heads of the enemy. However, all the dust broke most of the unicorns' concentration, causing their shields to fall. The second they had the chance, Silver Spoons front line laid into General Tiara's troops, cutting down several of her own unicorns.

"Keep it together, you fools!" General Tiara screamed. "More explosives, now!"

Half a dozen grenades were lobbed to Spoon's forces at once. The explosion wasn't as absorbed as it was before, killing the last of the unicorns up front and numerous pegasi and earth ponies behind them. The new corpses took the brunt of the blast and a large cloud of sediment and dust erupted from the floor and walls of the cavern, choking and blinding the troops but also making it difficult to see them. Spoon and Commander Derpy leaned hard against the wall as more shots came ringing out through the haze, cutting down even more soldiers.

Between coughs, Pinkie spoke up again. "Come on! We need to break them up! Let me use the cannon!"

"Alright, fine! One shot only!" Silver Spoon said as she gagged. "Give Pinkie some cover fire!"

The Party Crashers stepped beside their leader and unloaded a torrent of lead death into the smoke and dust. Through the mists, Pinkie spotted a faint glow emitting from the few remaining magical shields their enemy still had up.

She whipped out her PC 9000 from out of nowhere and slammed it onto the ground, taking aim.

-----

The fans in the garden finally came to a halt and began spinning slowly in the opposite direction, blowing air out of the tunnel instead of vacuuming it inward. Black Cherry took hold of the knob on the operating device and slowly increased the intensity of the fan as it began to spin faster and faster.

Halfway down the tunnel, Tiara's pegasi squadron charged ahead, only to be met with increasing resistance. One by one, as the winds got more intense, they were blown outside, regardless of how hard they flapped their wings. Gravel and dust accompanied them as the rough winds tore apart the ceilings and walls like a hurricane.

Applejack and Caramel ceased firing into the tunnel as the fans' power rose. There was no need to waste bullets if the machines were doing their job. However, Black Cherry watched nervously as the equipment in front of him indicated overuse, the needles on the gauges slowly moving to the right and into the red. They had never needed to work the fans so hard before and he wasn't sure how long they were going to stay functional before they ran the risk of breaking. He could already smell traces of smoke wafting from the fans.

The last of the pegasi were thrown out into the open and took cover beside the tunnels. There wasn't going to be any way for them to force their way into the base as long as they could be pushed right back. The squad leader leaned his assault rifle hard against the wind and sprayed bullets into the cavern. Surely they'd have enough power behind them to hit whatever was generating such gale force.

The rest of the troops around him followed his lead and shot into the hole. Sparks flew out, creating a faint light they could barely see if they craned their heads in to look. A large shower of sparks flew from the center of the first fan and then then next, and a loud whine screamed from the equipment as it began to shut down.

"Uh oh, this ain't good. Everypony take cover!" Applejack called out.

She and Caramel ran back down the stairs. The rest of the workers ducked behind some of the food stands or around the corner in the hallway. The sergeant hid behind one of the furthest troughs and pointed her weapon at the fans, waiting patiently for anypony to emerge from behind them. A bead of sweat trickled down her temple.

-----

Pinkie fired her cannon at the colors she saw behind the clouds of dust, deafening her companions and blasting the enemy unicorns' shields to pieces and knocking them back hard into their friends. The pink pony holstered her cannon into the nothing as her friends returned fire, wiping out their front line. General Tiara and the rest of the platoon ducked down and hugged the walls.

"Slowly fall back, everypony! You three, head down the hall to the barracks. See if you can get some of them to follow you back to Lockdown. The rest of us, head to the engineering area," Derpy ordered.

Using the now thinning dust cloud as cover, the majority of Derpy's forces pulled back quickly. Diamond Tiara didn't have a direct line of sight anymore, even without the dust obscuring her vision. Her squad continue to fire wildly at the hallway, hoping they hit something other than the wall. When they didn't hear any return fire, they slowly crept forward. They were reinforced by the soldiers who broke off to check out the prison and war room, having returned from their quick reconnaissance.

General Tiara finally reached the first hall that led to the left toward the sleeping quarters where Lockdown's forces were waiting and the medical wing, where Shining Armor, Twilight and Rainbow were holed up. She motioned for some of her fighters to break away while the rest pressed forward. Nearly a dozen headed left, chasing after the few ponies Derpy instructed to act as bait. Three of the group turned right at the first hall they stumbled upon as they went after the enemy, which led to the recovery and rehabilitation room.

The three that broke away found Rainbow, Twilight and Shining Armor waiting for them. Shining Armor quickly threw up his powerful shield. Sparks flew from in front of the protected group. Rainbow used the Sonic Screwdriver and wriggled it in their general direction, not really sure exactly how it was supposed to work its magic. The guns suddenly jammed up without warning, giving Shining Armor the chance to thrust his barrier with full force toward their attackers, smashing them, as well as most of the equipment beside them, hard against the wall. They struggled to get to their hooves as Twilight lifted a glowing purple machine gun in front of her. A second, and several shots later, Celestia's three troops were dead on the floor.

The remaining invaders charged ahead to where Lockdown and his troops were waiting. Arriving at the three-way stop at the end of the hall, they spotted the resistance to the left and quickly ducked back, though two of the ponies weren't fast enough. Between waves of incoming gunfire, Celestia's squad leaned around the corner and shot back, taking out a few of their enemies before hiding again. Getting bold, the earth pony leading the charge unhooked one of the grenades on his vest, popped the pin and rolled it around the corner. Thinking quickly, a rival pegasus scooped the explosive up and tossed it away, only for it to explode in the middle of both groups, each suffering multiple casualties, including the brave pegasus.

With only himself and another earth pony left, Lockdown took advantage of the chaos and jumped around the corner, opening fire and cutting through the last few enemies, but not before taking a return shot in the chest. He fell back against the wall, clutching at the wound. Mustering what strength he could, he rose to his hooves and crawled back to his companion, who removed his own vest and applied what pressure he could to slow the bleeding while keeping an eye out for anymore danger.

-----

Applejack watched nervously as the fan slowed more and more before finally coming to a complete stop. The tension in the air was thick enough to be cut with a knife. Suddenly, from the shadows behind the large fan blades, several rapid shots and blasts of fire erupted. Unseen bullets tore through the vegetation and kicked up dirt and gravel into the air. The country mare and her resistance soldiers quickly ducked behind their respective hiding places to avoid getting killed right away.

Once the shooting died down a bit, Applejack and the others perked up and threw what they had back at the fans. The blades absorbed enough of the impacts despite being pierced through. Four of the numerous pegasi were hit in spite of being hidden by the fans, two of which didn't make it.

To Applejack's horror, five small, olive green spheres came flying from various openings between the fan blades and landed among the garden stands. She gasped audibly and screamed for everypony to get down. A second later, five loud explosions rocked the room, destroying numerous tables and crops, sending chunks of wood, plant and dirt into the air. Unfortunately, three of her friends were caught in the explosions, too.

Fireballs that burst forth from the devastated equipment caught much of the rest of the produce on fire. Thick black smoke started to collect at the top of the room, making it difficult for anypony to breathe. Applejack and the rest started to choke on the fumes and their eyes burned.

"Applejack!" Caramel shouted. "We can't get a good shot at them, and we can't stay here any longer with the smoke! We have to fall back!"

"I know! Everypony, retreat!" Applejack said with a cough.

As her comrades ran low toward the exit, Celestia's troops opened heavy fire again. Applejack made made sure that her friends were escaping before making a move herself, but her heart shattered when her beige coated, long time friend took a bullet through the neck and collapsed a few feet away.

"Caramel, no!"

Applejack reached out futilely for the older stallion as gunfire continue to rain down upon them. A shot whizzed past her head and she ducked out of the way. Her eyes watered as Caramel laid dead on the ground before her. She was no stranger to death on the battlefield, but even after not fighting for years, it still hurt immensely. She quickly wiped her tears away and sprinted for the hallway as bits of the floor burst up around her.

-----

Nearly half of Tiara's troops in the base had been cut down, not counting the pegasi working their own way inside. She didn't expect invading one of their main bases to be a walk in the park, but she underestimated the number of troops Commander Derpy had and the ferocity with which they were fighting. Even the element of surprise seemed to have little effect on them.

She continued to push forward, lured into Derpy's trap of being bottle-necked into the heart of the facility. The engineering room was wide open and allowed for plenty of space to spread out and a few pieces of large, durable machines to hide behind such as the weapon assembly equipment.

General Tiara found herself in the middle of the dwindling group of earth ponies. Early on, they had done well tearing into the enemies' numbers but that advantage quickly disappeared when she eventually saw how many there were. She couldn't call out for a retreat though. She be humiliated by her failure in front of the Princess if she was even fortunate enough to make it out of the base alive. Turning and running was the easiest way to invite a bullet into the back.

Derpy was getting smart too. She was continuously lobbing explosives in Tiara's general direction, maybe so much to kill as to disorient. The clouds of dust that kicked up from such a contained explosion made it exceptionally difficult for General Tiara's troops to see more than a few inches in front of them. As they marched forward, they fired wildly into the mists, occasionally catching an unsuspecting enemy and killing them.

Diamond Tiara knew she couldn't keep this up much longer. If she was going to lose, she needed to take somepony important down with her and deal a blow to their morale.

-----

Cadance sat with the children as the war raged in the heart of the facility. She did her best to distract and entertain the children, but she knew they weren't stupid. They had always known war, even without being directly involved, but she feared this may be too much for them. Many were crying and distraught, worried sick that a bad pony was about to show up at any second and kill them. Others were worried for the soldiers outside, particularly for family.

Rapid Fire sat with his friends in a circle, but his thoughts and attention were towards the door the entire time. His mom and dad were particular important not only to him, but to the army as well. He knew this. If they lost mom or dad, who knows what they, or he, would do. He didn't hear anything his friends were saying. He needed to get out of there. He needed to see his parents.

He stood up quietly and paced around, his mind going a mile a minute, tears leaking from the corner of his eyes. He looked at the ground and back at the door over and over again. He knew he wasn't the only one whose parents put their lives on the line for their friends, family and indeed all of Equestria, but that didn't make his worry subside at all.

Gathering what courage he could from the pit of his stomach, he took a deep breath and waited until Cadance's back was to him. The moment finally came, and he bolted for freedom.

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